By Michael Moynihan
Tipperary U21 hurling captain Colin English described the reaction to the county’s dramatic All-Ireland win over old rivals Cork last Sunday as “unbelievable”.
Having shipped a heavy defeat to the Leesiders in the Munster final, Tipperary were underdogs in the All-Ireland final but upset the odds to earn a deserved victory, 3-13 to 1-16. “It means absolutely everything,” said English.
“This is what Tipperary hurling people deserve. Look we’re delighted, we couldn’t be happier.”
The Fr Sheehy’s man paid tribute to the heart of his teammates, acknowledging that a disappointing Munster final performance meant they were underdogs ahead of last weekend: “We said it from the start of the year, the courage and the character in this team, you could never write us off. Coming in, we were underdogs, I suppose we were underdogs all year, and rightly so after the loss in the Munster final but just the heart and desire in that team, we weren’t leaving that after us today.”
Though they had a blistering start, hitting Cork for 1-5 to the Rebels’ 0-1 in the first quarter, Cork came back into the game coming up to the break and led at half-time, 1-9 to 1-7.
“We were coming out with a game plan to just tear into them from the start.
“There was no way we were letting them hurl and build up a lead like they did in the Munster final but look, I can’t complain.
”Coming out at half-time we knew that Cork were after coming back into the game in a big way, we had to come out and make a statement straight away. So we’re just delighted with it.”
Though they learned the lessons from the Munster final, that evening in Páirc Ui Chaoimh was a long way from English and his colleagues’ minds on Sunday.
“I suppose in essence the game was over after the first five minutes. We never got hurling and we didn’t justify the preparation and the potential we had.
“But the Munster final couldn’t be further from our minds now.”